chapter  9
Theory Revisited: Novelty and Origins
WithSteve Breyman
Pages 34

The stress on new social movements (NSM) as symbolic actors struggling over signs and messages in new arenas of conflict, common to the work of Michel Foucault and Alberto Melucci, while instructive, uncovers only part of the peace movement challenge to contemporary societies. Sidney Tarrow’s insight about the political origins of the NSM is useful. But the power of Ingleharts theory of postmaterialism to explain the protest potential drawn on by the peace movement must be retained. New movements are said to have developed new organizational structures characterized by consensus decisionmaking, anti-authoritarianism, and decentralized structures. The collective behavior paradigm is unable to adequately account for the emergence of postmaterialist, new politics movements. The grievance-airing activity and transnational scope of the new movements noted by newness proponents are not in themselves novel. Giving transnational voice to social complaints and recruiting adherents across borders were practices of leftist parties and trade unions in the nineteenth century.